Writing – part x748, Writing a Novel, The Initial Scene

19 April 2019, Writing – part x748, Writing a Novel, The Initial Scene

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.

Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning withhttp://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.

I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:

  1. Don’t confuse your readers.
  2. Entertain your readers.
  3. Ground your readers in the writing.
  4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

  1. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
  3. Research as required
  4. Develop the initial setting
  5. Develop the characters
  6. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  7. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  8. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  9. Write the climax scene
  10. Write the falling action scene(s)
  11. Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.

How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement.  Here is an initial cut.

For novel 30:  Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 31:  Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events.

Here is the scene development outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker         

Today:  Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel?  I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together.  We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing.

At the beginning, I imagined a plot and developed my novels from there.  I used a “theme question” to describe the plot.  Here is an example of a “theme question:”

“What can be the ramifications of personal relationships when they are ultimately based on political ends?”

This is the “theme question” from my published novel, The End of Honor.  This is a hard science fiction novel set in the far future in a feudal based society and culture.  The problem with my early means of writing was that I had to completely envision the plot and then write to it.  This led to many instances of “writer’s block” and times when I wasn’t sure how to write to the plot.  Mostly, it led to very short novels because the plots were not as complex as I would have liked.  If you can envision an entire plot in your mind at once, the plot usually isn’t complex enough.

By about my eighth novel, I discovered my current means of writing novels.  It has led me through the writing of about 21 very complex and entertaining novels.  This is the method or means I’m describing for you.

Today, I start with an initial scene.  I envision this initial scene from beginning to end.  If you look at the scene outline, this is how I envision and write scenes.  An initial scene is much easier to develop and write than an entire plot.  The initial scene includes all the elements that you need to complete a novel—as long as you continue to write scene by scene.

To create an initial scene, the author needs three specific things: protagonist and antagonist (or protagonist’s helper), a telic flaw, and an initial setting.  Luckily, the telic flaw comes wrapped in the protagonist and antagonist, and the initial setting usually comes with the protagonist, so this means to begin a novel all you need is the protagonist.  The antagonist is usually a tag along from the protagonist and the telic flaw.  Let’s look at an example.

My novel, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, begins with the meeting of Essie, the protagonist, and Mrs. Lyons, the protagonist’s helper.  As an aside, most novels should begin with the meeting of the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper or the antagonist. In this novel, Essie is the Aos Si.  The Aos Si is a creature who happens to be the reigning queen of the Celtic Fae.  She was displaced by the coming of Ceridwen, the reigning goddess of the Celtic lands, and imprisoned by the Fae because of that.  The problems of Essie are very complex.

In the beginning of the novel, Essie has escaped her captors and is living by breaking into houses in Lyonshall and eating any meat she finds lying around.  Essie is an ancient Fae creature but she normally appears as a plain girl of about fifteen or as a large black wild cat.  For breaking into houses, the girl of fifteen seems to make the best for manipulating locks and opening things.

Thus we have a character, a telic flaw, and an initial setting.  What are they?  I described the protagonist to you.  There is much more.  Essie is a very complex character, but because this novel like all novels is a revelation of the protagonist, the novel itself defines and describes Essie.  The telic flaw should be obvious:  Essie was imprisoned by her own people at the behest of Ceridwen.  This put her at odds with the Fae and with the goddess of the Celtic lands.  To resolve the novel, this problem must be resolved, therefore, the telic flaw.  This is Essie’s problem but it is also the problem encapsulated by the novel—the plot problem that must be solved.  The initial setting is Lyonshall.  There is always more to this.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:








fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic


About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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